A Guide To The Best Bottle Jack

Many of us can remember our fathers or grandfathers using a bottle jack to hoist up the family car or station wagon.

Today, we might think that we have no real need for a bottle jack. Many cars today come with their own jack stored in the back under a tire. But a good bottle jack can be a jewel to have around the home, garage, workshop, and machine shop.

Let’s face it, tire jacks aren’t always the easiest things to use. If you want to lift the car in another location besides the tire area, those jacks won’t do the job well.

Bottle jacks are clean, lightweight, and simple to use.

Do you need to lift your truck in front to gain access to a front suspension part or check the harmonic balancer? A bottle jack will do the trick.

I love having a bottle jack around because it’s easier to use than the jack that came with my SUV. Especially if I have items in the rear cargo area. Bottle jacks are superior when compared to a jack stand’s stability.

It’s true that a floor jack is lower to the ground. They often roll so you don’t need to pick them up for positioning. But no one wants to store a floor jack in their trunk or in a very small garage. Floor jacks take up a lot of room!

Besides, a bottle jack can lift your vehicle up higher than a floor jack.

The only thing you need to know before you buy a bottle jack is how much weight can it handle. A two-ton bottle jack will be able to lift your car, but you will need a much more powerful one to lift your RV or motor home.

Let’s learn more about bottle jacks and which one would be your best choice.

Best Overall

Powerbuilt 6,000lb Unijack

Do you remember above that I mentioned how a bottle jack combined with a jack stand is the ultimate in safety? You can get both of these advantages in the Powerbuilt 6000lb Unijack.

This must be one of the best bottle jacks I’ve seen lately. With a big 6000lb capacity (that’s about 3 tons) this jack can handle nearly any truck or SUV.

With its built-in jack stand, this bottle jack will lift and safely hold your vehicle while you are underneath. It’s very easy to use.

No one wants to buy extra things that you need to find a place to put them. I like this one because it allows me to lift my SUV and then safely lock it in place using the jack stand. But I only need to store this as a single item.

I’ve heard of others using this for everything from deck supports to lifting a jacuzzi up from the wooden platform. You can’t go wrong with the Powerbuilt bottle jack. Those built-in jack stands are just the ultimate in safety and convenience.

Pros

  • Powerbuilt has been around for nearly 4 decades. They made this unijack to meet or exceed the PALD and ASME standards.
  • This bottle jack will lift from 11 to 21 inches. That makes it the ideal choice for SUVs and trucks. Even those with unibody and body-on-frame vehicles.

Cons

  • This unit only has a limited one-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
  • You will find that some users complained that the jack stand broke apart at the base.
  • Others found the bottle jack itself began leaking soon after the warranty expired.

The complaints are in the minority, but it’s always good to take note of these things and be informed.

This is a must-have for anyone who plans on working on their vehicle or doing chores around the house.

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Budget Pick

Pro-Lift Grey Hydraulic Bottle Jack

You might look twice and then three times when you see the price for this hydraulic jack. But don’t let the price fool you.

This 4-ton (about 8,000 pounds) bottle jack is powerful but it won’t break the bank. It has no fancy do-dads, but this basic bottle jack will certainly get the job done.

Pro-Lift states that their bottle jack has heat-treated stress areas to ensure a long life. But with a 90-day warranty, you might wonder about what Pro-Lift considers to be a long life.

This bottle jack has a lifting range of 8 inches to just slightly more than 15 inches, which is an excellent range.

If you are used to the common scissor jack, you might be pleased to note it’s easier to use than a scissor jack. Not only that, but it can lift higher than many scissor jacks in the same weight class.

Pros

  • The extension screw makes it easy to allow the jack to reach its full height. You can use the release valve to return the jack to its normal starting position.
  • Most users state that this bottle jack had a higher range of travel than their OEM jack. It is also far easier to use.
  • The compact size made it easy to use in tight spaces such as when your vehicle is up against a curb with a flat tire.
  • Other users state that they left the bottle jack in place overnight. It didn’t move at all making them feel that this hydraulic lift is quite safe.

Cons

  • The instructions aren’t very clear. You may have to go without them.
  • It might contain lead paint, so be sure to keep this away from your children.

With an 8,000-pound range, this would be a suitable bottle jack for nearly all SUVs and consumer trucks on the road today.

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Best Bottle Jack Made in the USA

US JACK 12 Ton Bottle Jack

This is the option for the best bottle jack made in the USA.

The truth is that most people want to buy quality American made products as much as possible. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Why not keep your money in the US?

The US Jack is one of the most heavy duty, quality bottle jacks you can buy. This big red bottle jack weighs in at 23 pounds, but you can’t use a matchstick to hold up a car, now can you? I expect a jack of this size to be very beefy.

Actually, this jack is made for BIG equipment. It’s great for mobile homes, farm equipment, and larger construction jobs. This is overkill if all you have is a compact car. But for other uses, this bottle jack is the answer.

You can order this jack in red, green, or black, something you won’t find on other bottle jacks.

It may be big, but it’s got a low profile that makes this puppy super convenient. The lift height is an impressive 9 to 19.5 inches with the extension screw extended.

This jack is 100 percent American made with a large base for stability and positive load support. A safety fluid bypass system prevents overloading or damaging the jack from overextending.

US Jack makes bottle jacks and other tools for Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Snap-On Tools, as well as many smaller companies. They state that they would never consider another brand.

You might want to take note that I was unable to find anyone or even an online review that had anything bad to say about this bottle jack.

American made quality speaks for itself.

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Best Bottle Jack for an RV

BIG RED Torin Hydraulic Bottle Jack

Here’s the best bottle jack option for an RV.

Torin’s big red bottle jack is exactly what you are imagining. A monster of a bottle jack that has been engineered to handle some of the heaviest jobs you can imagine.

The lift range on this 40,000 lb. hydraulic jack is an impressive 9.5 inches to 17.75 inches. An adjustable screw top extension makes this one versatile jack.

Torin offers a glide-action pump so you can lift using a minimal amount of effort. Like other bottle jacks, the Big Red Torin has a built-in overload and bypass valve to prevent damage to this hydraulic bottle jack.

This bottle jack, like many similar products, only has a one-year warranty. That seems rather short. But with zero complaints, I suppose they feel a longer warranty isn’t necessary.

Torin’s big red bottle jack is a bit of overkill if all you have is a car, SUV, or truck. If you plan on using it for larger jobs, this would mean that you don’t need to buy several different hydraulic bottle jacks to get the job done.

In fact, this hydraulic bottle jack is perfect for farm equipment and machinery. It’s also great for industrial use where tools tend to take a great deal of abuse. Of course it works well for your motorhome or RV.

If you live in a very warm climate, you will be happy to know that this red hydraulic jack will work in temperatures up to 105 degrees!

Pros

  • Many liked the heavy-duty lifting capacity and the wide base which makes it sturdy.
  • Some also liked the larger head or button which made them feel that their vehicle was more securely attached.

Cons

  • Some complained that the jack lifted very slowly. That is common with all bottle jacks. This isn’t a racehorse, but a Clydesdale.
  • This unit will not work in temps below 40. Don’t expect to use this jack to allow you to change your tire in the snow.

Last, but not least, you will find that this bottle jack has an incredible price for its lifting capability. Don’t let the price fool you! This is a 100% quality item that has lifting power plus!

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Best 30 Ton Bottle Jack

BIG RED Stubby 30 Ton Bottle Jack

For those who want a seriously heavy-duty bottle jack, the 30-ton capacity Torin hydraulic bottle jack is the best one available.

You notice right off that this little helper has a super low profile. That should help you to lift items that are low to the ground.

You know that this jack must be able to handle the super big jobs because this weighs just shy of 45 pounds! Talk about a heavyweight!

The lift height on this red hydraulic jack goes from 9-7/16 inches to 14-9/16 inches, which is excellent for any job you want this workhorse to handle.

This hydraulic jack meets the ASME and PASE safety standards. Like almost every bottle jack, they offer a one-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.

This bottle jack is meant for industrial use but there is nothing to stop you from using it around your home or farm. This would be the perfect bottle jack for mobile homes, RVs, tractors, boats, and 5th wheels.

Torin probably named this unit the Stubby because it is a noticeably short 8.5 inches when it is completely contracted. It comes with two handles that you can connect together for easier lifting.

Be sure to bleed any air that might be in the system before using it for the best performance.

Pros

  • The hydraulics in this 60,000 lb capacity jack use a high-quality oil to prevent corrosion resistance.
  • It has a polyurethane ring that seals the unit to prevent the load from falling too slowly or too quickly.

Cons

  • A few users complained that the jack broke on the first or second use.
  • A few others stated that the unit leaked hydraulic oil everywhere. I hope these users returned the unit under its factory warranty.

The fact remains that if you want a heavy duty bottle jack that can handle up to 60,000 lbs of weight (30 tons), you can’t go wrong with Big Red.

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Are Bottle Jacks Any Good?

This would depend on what you want them for. Bottle jacks have a lot going for them, including the ability to lift heavier weights than a standard floor jack. They can lift things higher and they don’t cost nearly as much as a typical floor jack.

Unless you have a lot of space to store a floor jack, bottle jacks are so small they can fit in a cabinet. You can’t say that about a floor jack!

I like bottle jacks because of their short stature and overall compact nature. You can fit a bottle jack almost everywhere. Next to curbs, in a corner, or anywhere you can fit your hand. You can squeeze in one of these small hydraulic jacks.

Bottle jacks come with handles of different lengths. But let me tell you, I’ve used these in places that were so tight even the handle the jack came with wouldn’t fit. I’ve used whatever would work. Including screwdrivers, pieces of rebar, and once even a broken piece of wood that used to be a broom handle.

The size and versatility of bottle jacks make them one of the most popular choices in hydraulic lifting devices.

If you’ve never tried one, you should! I can bet that you are going to become a fan of a hydraulic bottle jack after the first use.

Why are Bottle Jacks So Cheap?

This is a good question, but it is difficult to answer.

One reason bottle jacks are more inexpensive than a floor jack because of the amount of materials in the construction.

If you look at a selection of bottle jacks, nearly all of them are about the same size. You will see that they are all rated for different weight capacities. But the bottle jack itself doesn’t change all that much in size.

One look at a floor jack will tell you that these are far bulkier and larger than bottle jacks. While floor jacks are more expensive, they are more stable than a bottle jack. Some people simply prefer to use them.

This leads one to believe that it’s the smaller amount of material involved is what makes a bottle jack less expensive than a floor jack.

Ask 50 mechanics which they prefer, and you will get 25 of them who prefer a bottle jack and 25 who prefer a floor jack.

If you are in need of something to lift your truck or SUV and money is tight, go with the bottle jack.

How Tall is a Bottle Jack?

This depends on the make, model, and the lifting capacity of the jack. The more weight that a hydraulic bottle jack can lift, generally the taller it is, but this may not always be the case.

I can’t say that I know the specifications on every bottle jack ever made, but the shortest bottle jack I’ve seen was 7 inches tall.

The highest lifting capacity on a bottle jack that I’ve seen was 20 inches.

While height does matter, the weight capacity is the most important factor. If your RV weighs 20 tons but your bottle jack can only handle 5 tons, you won’t be able to lift that vehicle off the ground.

Height does matter if you are talking about a car other applications like raising a deck off the ground. If you only have 5 inches of height, you won’t be able to squeeze an 8-inch bottle jack underneath no matter how many curse words you try (that’s experience talking here).

It’s always a good idea to check the minimum height of the project or car you are working on. Also double check the weight you need to lift before purchasing a bottle jack.

How Long Do Bottle Jacks Last?

This is another difficult question. This is like asking how long a pair of shoes will last?

Shoes will last depending on how often you wear them and what type of environment they are subject to (are they being worn to a construction site or do they simply sit under a desk all day). Also consider the quality of the shoe.

Bottle jacks are no different. They can last for decades if taken care of well. Keep it in a safe area where it won’t be subject to being knocked around or run over. Keep it full of hydraulic fluid and don’t overload it frequently. Don’t use it in temperatures that they were not designed for.

The most common problem of any hydraulic lifting device is the contamination of the fluid. Second is a failure of the hydraulic seal. Most seals on bottle jacks are made from polyurethane or rubber. These soft materials are damaged by heat and exposure to the elements over time.

Have you ever seen a tire rot and crack after being left in the sun for years? Then you get an idea about what can happen to a bottle jack that is carelessly left outside.

Take good care of your bottle jack and it should last far longer than you ever expect it to.

Closing Thoughts

While I love bottle jacks and have used plenty of them in my lifetime, there are a few safety items that you should consider before you use them.

Always use a stable, strong support under the jack. Don’t use it on very soggy or muddy ground as the jack can slip sideways.

Always use jack stands once the bottle jack has lifted the vehicle to the height you want. Bottle jacks have a smaller base than a floor jack. That means they can shift at any time allowing the object to fall.

Never work on a vehicle or do any type of repair or maintenance work using only the bottle jack. You must support the item lifted, whether it is a car or a cabin deck.

Do not rely solely on the hydraulic bottle jack. These jacks can easily slip, or they sometimes leak and fail. Don’t risk your life over an inexpensive pair of jack stands.

The best bottle jack is the one that can handle the weight that you plan to use it for. It should also fit underneath your car, truck, SUV, deck, or other objects.

Once you become accustomed to a quality bottle jack, you may never go back to those bulky floor jacks ever again.

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Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell

Car Fanatic. Performance Geek. Flathead lover.

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